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Posted: December 24, 2010 11:00 p.m.

Faith, wishes and introspection

I’m amazed each Christmas at how the whole world comes to a halt of sorts. Virtually every educated, civilized person aware of the calendar and in possession of modern communication devices knows that on this day Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, agnostics and atheists all know Jesus, whose followers claim him to be the Son of God, Savior, the propitiation for the sins of the world.

Those who follow different paths may not acknowledge Jesus as Savior, but they know Him, nevertheless. This day of days, acknowledged everywhere on Earth, testifies to the validity of that claim.

Scholars know that no other religious figure has done anything approaching what Jesus of Nazareth accomplished in 33 years. Prophesied for hundreds of years, he fulfilled those prophecies exactly. No other religious figure can equal that one amazing fact.

No matter what religious beliefs any citizen of any nation might hold, on this day each and every person in some way acknowledges the humble carpenter born in a Bethlehem stable. That alone staggers the imagination.

Faith is truly the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. One cannot hustle over to the grocery store and buy a gallon of God. Each person has to seek the truth on his or her own, and as Pascal said, there’s enough light to illuminate the path for those who truly seek, and enough darkness to obscure the path from the insincere.

But people are not keen on discerning the absolute truth. We put up blinders to keep us from seeing the abyss of eternity, as even the most cavalier among us realizes that even if we live a century, what is that compared to eternity?

And thus society plays the material game, giving gifts and waiting for the jolly old elf to bring objects of joy to us all.

Around the world, children awakened this morning with hopes that St. Nicholas and his sleigh had found their home.

And what of you? What did you wish for this Christmas? Was it something you’ve dreamed of since childhood, like a ’63 split-window Corvette? Or something along the lines of altruism, like peace on earth, good will to men?

I have few wishes, really. Most pertain to reforming the nature of humanity, which pretty much guarantees disappointment.

First, I’d like a dose of self-discipline to actually diet sensibly, adopt a daily workout routine, and eschew the gift of rationalizing why it doesn’t hurt to have one more pizza, or a favorite beverage or three.

Next, there’s the matter of peace on earth. I know two military men high up in the intelligence community who have pulled duty on the DMZ in Korea. They say that if North Korea attacks South Korea it’ll result in the most horrendous loss of life imaginable.

The North, will fight to the death. Seoul is so close to the initial action that civilian casualties will be in the millions. America will triumph, as the North’s aging weapons and equipment cannot be sustained or replaced. But the cost in human terms will be beyond comprehension.

So I’m hopeful that China’s distancing itself from North Korea will keep the peace. It seems America’s clever economic invasion of China has worked, after all. Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s and Boeing have made their mark on young Chinese, and our government owes so much money to China that they cannot afford to oppose us.

Finally, I’d like to see all the non-profits that nickle-and-dime us for worthy causes join in one great philanthropical enterprise. We, the people of The United States of America, can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, treat the sick, house the homeless and end suffering.

So as the world stops tooday to honor the birth of Jesus, let us turn our thoughts inward for reflection. Are we seeking the true path, or are we satisfied to stumble along, wearing blinders?

Merry Christmas!

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